Nigeria’s central bank unfroze the accounts of some firms “illegally trading” in foreign exchange in Nigeria. It could symbolise new beginnings.
Two years ago, the Central Bank of Nigeria froze the accounts of companies offering Nigerians access to securities and investment options in both local and international markets. It accused them of engaging in “illicit forex transactions” and vowed to investigate them. Consequently, the CBN ordered banks to block the accounts of over 400 companies. Some of the companies affected included tech startups like BetNaija, RiseVest, Bamboo, Chaka, Trove, Fliqpay and Yellow Card.
A reversal of earlier stance
Less than 24 hours after the acting CBN governor, Folashodun Shonubi, and Emefiele’s replacement raised interest rates to 18.75%, banks were told to lift the restrictions on the bank accounts of 440 individuals and companies. Two experts who spoke to TechCabal said the apex bank reversal of its earlier stance is a means of bridging a gap where foreign investments can flow into Nigeria. An analyst at Meristem Securities Limited, Fifunmi Laosebikian said the CBN is trying to be flexible while reducing barriers for trade. “Some of these firms bring foreign exchange to the country and it is important that they keep that path open,” he said.
Bright Enabulele, a cryptocurrency expert believes collaboration can lead to the establishment of clear and comprehensive regulations that protect consumers, foster market stability, and promote responsible growth. While both experts seek harmony between both the CBN and the companies offering Nigerians access to securities and investment options in both local and international markets, patience is key in looking forward to how both sides will play.